A film that will be remembered long after the credits roll, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room is an experience worth having. Martin Carr tells you why this powerful drama must not be missed…
I have talked about Room already with a few people. It demands debate and requires a conversation because there will be tears. Room is unflinchingly honest and matter of fact in its depiction of kidnapping, incarceration and our ability to adapt. There will be moments that drag emotions from you kicking and screaming in the light, but they will come naturally. How you feel at the end will depend upon too many things, none of which I can explain or quantify; they are too personal.
For me it is not Brie Larson or her Oscar winning performance which floored me but that little boy. Jacob Tremlay gets you where you live by innocently tapping into everything repugnant which Room represents, but doing it with a level of honesty which is rare. There are examples of exceptional child actors going back to Tatum O’Neill in Paper Moon, Linda Blair’s Regan in The Exorcist not to mention Jodie Foster (Taxi Driver), or Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense. But Tremlay adds another dimension to things here, which allows the audience to regress once more and experience events through his eyes to devastating effect.
Above all it is his innocence of the situation which slowly chews you up inside, as his mother bathes, feeds, washes and ultimately hides him away every day when her digital alarm beeps. It is our voyeuristic singular window which acts as the emotional hammer blow throughout. We are silent observers powerless to stop or aid in any way, while this warped domestic scene plays out day after day. To explain the power of Room is impossible as it will be singularly subjective and uniquely individual depending upon the viewer. Forget Irreversible or freak fests like The Human Centipede, Room knows the buttons to push and Tremlay is key in activating them with subtlety.
Beyond that it contains numerous stand out moments, which are memorable for the truth they impart not necessarily for any feel good factor. From only one scene and ten minutes of screen time people will remember how good William H. Macy really is. He says and does virtually nothing but there will be tears, there will be consideration after the fact and people should debate.
This film is contentious, uncomfortable, riveting and unrivalled in its depiction of the subject matter. Neither gratuitous nor showy Room remains emotionally raw and painfully honest. And Director Lenny Abrahamson has created a film you might not necessarily want to own, but one it is imperative people watch. If only because conversation is a dying art and Room was made to be talked about. And one more thing; Brie Larson deserved that Oscar.